Why Should Women Be Concerned About Colorectal Cancer?


Colorectal cancer is the second leading reason behind cancer-related deaths among women, after cancer of the breast. Comprising the majority of the large bowel, the colon collects remaining nutrients and water from food that has migrated through the small intestine. The bottom segment of the large bowel is called the rectum. In some cases, small growths (polyps) form in the inner lining of the colon or rectum. Such growths commonly cause minor to no symptoms, but growths can transition into cancer of the colon or rectum. Since they are highly similar, colon and rectal cancer are often classified together.

Regular colon cancer screenings can allow doctors to find signs of colon and rectal cancer early on and substantially enhance an individual's treatment outcomes. You can book a colonoscopy and additional types of colorectal cancer screenings at Colorado Gastroenterology. If you’re looking for a knowledgeable digestive health specialist in Denver, CO, speak with our team to learn more about colon cancer and other GI conditions.

What should I know about colon cancer?

Colon and rectal cancer arises in the colon or rectum. Most patients who have colon or rectal cancer will have no signs or symptoms in the initial stages of the disease. The individuals who do present symptoms may have one or more of the following:

  • Unexplained weight loss

  • Blood present in stool or rectal bleeding

  • Ongoing abdominal cramping or pain

  • A difference in bowel habits

In the event that you or a loved one has noticed one or more of these indications, contact Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO today to consult with a GI expert.

If a malignant polyp expands into the outside wall of the colon or rectum, it can enter into the circulatory or lymph system and move to additional areas of the body. Individuals whose colon or rectal cancer has impacted areas outside of the large intestine have substantially smaller survival rates than people whose cancer remains localized. As such, early diagnosis and intervention are crucial.

What are common colon and rectal cancer risk factors?

While anyone can be affected by colon or rectal cancer, there are certain conditions that might put certain patients at an increased risk. Some risk factors for colon cancer are:

  • Having a family history of colon or rectal cancer

  • Being overweight

  • Having experienced inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)

  • Alcohol use

  • Being over 50

  • Use of tobacco products

Patients who have such risk factors should schedule routine screenings for colon cancer, like a colonoscopy.

How do GI doctors diagnose colon or rectal cancer?

Several types of colon and rectal cancer screenings may be conducted for individuals at risk of getting colorectal cancer. These screening methods include fecal tests, blood tests, and various colonoscopy procedures. During a colonoscopy, a gastrointestinal doctor places a flexible scope housing a small camera through the large bowel to evaluate for any signs of tissue irregularities, like growths. In the event that colon polyps are identified during the conduction of a colonoscopy, they can often be removed at the time of the procedure and then biopsied for indications of cancer. After colon cancer has been detected, further procedures can be conducted to ascertain if the cancer has spread and the treatments that would be the most effective in handling it.

What are the treatment options for colon or rectal cancer?

The selected treatment of colon or rectal cancer will be determined based on the size, stage, and location of the cancer and could include radiation treatment, chemotherapy, or surgery. Growths in the colon can take around 10 –15 years to transition into cancer. This means that when a growth is diagnosed early on, it can generally be removed before it even becomes cancerous. Among those who have localized colon or rectal cancer and have proper medical treatment, there is a five-year rate of survival of approximately 90%. Getting a periodic colonoscopy can be lifesaving; however, about one-third of American adults have not maintained routine colorectal cancer screenings.

Schedule a colonoscopy in Denver, CO

Even though colon and rectal cancer is a leading reason behind cancer deaths in women, it is significantly treatable when diagnosed early and easy to detect with a periodic colonoscopy procedure. Individuals over 50 or who have been diagnosed with health issues that increase their likelihood of colon and rectal cancer should set up a routine colonoscopy procedure. Colorado Gastroenterology implements the most modern technology and processes to enhance GI health, and our team of skilled physicians operates on a patient-centered approach. To find out additional information about colorectal cancer or any other GI health issue, get in touch with Colorado Gastroenterology in Denver, CO.